A Directory of Shakespeare in Performance, 1970–1990 pp 1851-1892 | Cite as
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
[The New York Shakespeare Festival has] transformed [“The Two Gentlemen of Verona”] into a totally endearing New York pop musical. I adored it. It needs a lot of work before it finally reaches the Broadway billet it is presumably destined for, but it works up to a tremendous climax already… A lot of the Shakespearean text is left, and even more of the Shakespearean spirit… The adaptation is funny and beautiful, and [John] Guare’s lyrics merge mockingly with Shakespeare’s lines, and yet also with a kind of friendship. Mr. Guare has never heard of the word anachronism, and neither had Mr. Shakespeare. [Galt] MacDermots music is less hirsute than his score for “Hair.” It gets better and better as the evening flies on, but it needs another three or four really good numbers for sustained success … And suddenly here was my personal problem. Listening to the music, the lyrics, the entire concept, I suddenly felt as if I were a New York interloper of the Philadelphia opening of a Broadway-bound musical… The piece looks a little thrown together … But what it has, apart from much of the gutsiness of Mr. Guare and Mr. MacDermot, is this great feeling for the city of New York, especially its black and Puerto Rican elements. Its lovely Julia wails into Spanish at the drop of a heartthrob, and black is very beautifully beautiful. [Mel] Shapiro’s staging, helped as ever by the Shakespeare Festival stalwarts Ming Cho Lee and Theoni V. Aldredge, both looking after decorative matters, is flip, cheerful and four weeks of rehearsal-time short of polished. The performances were fun—light-hearted and zesty. The four lovers, Jonelle Allen, Carla Pinza, Clifton Davis and Raul Julia, could not have been better.
KeywordsFestival Director Final Scene Musical Comedy Romantic Comedy Young Lover
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